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  • Secretary Duncan’s Lost Moral Authority

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan

    Writing in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Education Secretary Arne Duncan argued that the focus of school reform efforts should be doing what’s best for kids:

    “We must close the achievement gap by pursuing what works best for kids, regardless of ideology. In the path to a better education system, that’s the only test that really matters.”

    That’s refreshing to hear, since politics too often gets in the way of reforms that work best for children. But at this point, how can anyone take Secretary Duncan at his word?

    After all, the Education Department has worked to end the D.C. Opportunity scholarship program on his watch despite clear empirical evidence that the program is helping kids learn. A federally-mandated study found that scholarship students are scoring higher on reading tests than their peers who remained in public school. Kids who have been using the scholarships the longest have made the equivalent of nearly two years worth of academic gains in reading more than their peers who didn’t get scholarships.

    Yet just a week after this study was released the Department of Education sent a letter to 200 low-income families in D.C. informing them that their kids were no longer eligible for scholarships that they had been awarded since Congress has scheduled the program to end in 2010. So much for “pursuing what works for kids, regardless of ideology.”

    If Secretary Duncan wants to regain credibility as a supporter of evidence-based reform, there’s an easy solution. He can listen to Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Collins and correct the mistake of pulling kids’ scholarships, and then join others in supporting the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program’s continuation and expansion.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Secretary Duncan’s Lost Moral Authority

    1. Barb -mn says:

      ACHIEVEMENT GAP! In public government schools? Children have a right and a duty to fulfill their fullest potential. TO CLOSE ACHIEVEMENT GAP MEANS, CLOSE THE MINDS, INDOCTRINATE.

      GET GOVERNMENT OUT OF EDUCATION THEY ARE CORRUPT AND ABUSING THE MINDS OF THE CHILDREN.

    2. Barb -mn says:

      Are children being taught anything? Spending time and money on what works for the kids during the school year? Figuring out how sensitive susan will be able to handle a class? Figure out how gay gary is gonna make it through w/out being teased? Figure out why troubled tom can't keep up so bring the rest down? The government and education is not dealing with a full deck! They are untrustworthy and need to step aside while China, Japan, and everyone else with higher standards keeps right on track.

    3. J Steeves says:

      The teachers and the administrators do not want to hear from the parents. No matter what they say our imput is not wanted. One of my pet peeves is group learning. I am tired of one or two of the students doing all of the work and other students getting credit they haven't earned. I guess its like Obama spreading the wealth except the teachers are spreading the grades. At best this is plagiarism at worst cheating. My kids will do just fine but what about the other students? What are they learning? I guess grades are a "right" you don't have to earn. The teachers will take care of you. I have actually been told that this is the way it is in the real world. Maybe in the teachers union but I am a contractor and I have been in and out of businesses for thirty years and I'm here to tell you that these kids are in for a big shock when they are expected to earn their pay.The scholarship program was working, Florida is making good strides. Why aren't we doing more of this? I'll tell you why the teachers unions. They are the problem and they is no way around it. When was the last time you heard of a teacher being fired because his students were not learning? There are bad teachers and lets start by either getting them up to par or firing them.

      Then lets find the success stories and spread them around. Find what works in each community and then lets keep the government out of the way.

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